University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > The role of Chrisanthemum virus B p12 in the regulation of plant transcription and supression of RNA silencing.

The role of Chrisanthemum virus B p12 in the regulation of plant transcription and supression of RNA silencing.

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Recent studies have uncovered numerous nucleus-localized proteins encoded by plant RNA viruses. Whereas for some of these viruses nuclear (or, more specifically, nucleolar) passage of the proteins is needed for the virus movement within the plant or suppression of host defense, the nuclear function of these proteins remains largely unknown. The situation has been clarified for one group of plant RNA viruses, the Carlaviruses. Being positive-stranded RNA viruses, carlaviruses multiply exclusively in the cytoplasm. Chrysanthemum virus B (CVB, a carlavirus) encodes a zinc-finger protein p12 targeted to the nucleus in a nuclear localization signal-dependent manner. p12 directly interacts with chromatin and plant promoters, thus, acts as a eukaryotic transcription factor (TF) and activates expression of a host TF involved in regulation of cell size and proliferation to favor virus infection. Therefore, our studies identified a novel nuclear stage in CVB infection involving modulation of host gene expression and plant development. Whereas it is well established that any RNA virus actively replicating in the cell causes changes in the transcriptome, our study expanded this view by showing that some positive-stranded RNA viruses can directly manipulate host transcription by encoding eukaryotic TFs.

Viral suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs) are critical for the success of virus infection and efficient accumulation of virus progeny. In addition to its TF function the p12 protein suppresses RNA silencing. Moreover, p12 counter-silencing activity can be uncoupled from its function as a transcription factor in the nucleus.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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